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Another Kia Recall: People Can Get Trapped in Optima Trunks

» Posted October 11, 2023Resources | Share This Post

Another day, another Kia recall over a serious safety issue.

The Korean automaker is calling back more than 319,000 cars, it recently told federal regulators. The vehicles’ trunk latches can crack, preventing trunks from being opened from the inside.

“A crack can develop in the pawl of the trunk latch base subassembly which can intermittently cause the trunk's interior emergency release lever to be inoperative,” Kia said in a defect notice filed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That means the vehicles do not comply with federal safety standards.

In rare circumstances, the defect is a recipe for disaster.

“A person inside the trunk compartment may become trapped, increasing their risk of injury,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a separate letter detailing the recall.

The recall covers certain 2016-2017 Rio, 2016-2018 Optima and 2017-2018 Optima Hybrid and Optima Plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Kia plans to notify owners of recalled cars via mail by October 20, the company told NHTSA. It will ask owners to bring their vehicles to local dealerships for inspection and repair. The company is also pledging to reimburse owners for certain repair expenses they have already incurred.

Kia Safety Recalls: The Same Old Song

This is just one of several recalls that Kia and its parent company Hyundai have announced in recent years. Kia and Hyundai owners face a wide range of defects and malfunctions that increase the risk of hitting the road.

In August, for instance, the automakers called back some 92,000 vehicles over fire risks. The companies said at the time that faulty printed circuit boards (PCBs) in the cars’ electric oil pumps were to blame for the problem. They also urged owners to park outside until the defect is repaired to prevent fires from spreading in the event the vehicles burst into flames.

The move came just five months after Hyundai and Kia recalled some 571,000 vehicles over separate fire risks. They blamed faulty tow hitch harnesses for that recall, adding that the risk can be present even when cars’ engines are off. 

There is some good news for Kia and other car owners in California: You have some valuable rights and protections under the state’s lemon law.

The lemon law generally requires carmakers to perform a wide range of repairs on vehicles while they are under warranty. It also forces manufacturers to buy back vehicles that they are unable or simply refuse to fix. That means compensating the owner for the vehicle’s purchase price, as well as financing charges, rental car costs and other related expenses.

Speak with a California Lemon Law Attorney

If you are locked in a dispute with a car manufacturer over a malfunctioning or defective vehicle, a California lemon law attorney at Bickel Sannipoli APC can help. 

We have successfully assisted car owners across the state. Our offices are conveniently located in Los Angeles, San Diego and San Francisco. Call us at (888) 800-1983 or contact us online to speak with a Los Angeles lemon law attorney at our firm today.

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Posted By: Danyel Jerald